Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 836–844
We studied the potential use of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) whole body positron emission tomography (PET)–computed tomography for the diagnosis of device infection and extension of infection. Twenty-one patients with suspected device infection were prospectively included and compared with 14 controls free of infection. 18F-FDG uptake on the box and on the leads was visually and quantitatively interpreted (using the maximal standard uptake value). The final diagnosis was obtained either from bacteriological data after device culture (n = 11) or by a 6-month follow-up according to modified Duke’s criteria (n = 10). Ten patients finally showed infection on bacteriological study (n = 8) or during follow-up (n = 2). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were, respectively, 80%, 100%, 100% and 84.6% on patient-based analysis (presence or absence of infection). They were 100%, 100%, 100% and 100% for boxes, but only 60%, 100%, 100% and 73% for leads. Quantitative analysis could be useful for boxes but not for leads, for which the presence of a mild hot spot was the best criterion of infection. The four false negatives on leads received antibiotics for longer than the six true positives (20 ± 7.2 vs. 3.2 ± 2.3 days, p <0.01). Although the study was not designed for this purpose, management could have been modified by PET results in six of 21 patients. 18F-FDG PET imaging may be useful for the diagnosis of device infection, and could impact on clinical management. Interpretation of negative cases should be performed with caution if patients have received antibiotics.